A few years ago I was living in Toronto, Canada living a pretty typical life. I realised that I wasn’t really built to live a typical life.
My then fiancé and I had two versions of our future together: one where we would settle down, get married, buy a house, and eventually have children. We would continue to work up the corporate ladder and build ourselves professionally. Or we could leave everything behind to pursue something we have dreamed of since we first met. We thought about purchasing a one-way ticket out of Canada and travelling guilt-free for a few years. We would imagine all the amazing stories that would come from our travels, not to mention the photographs that would one day be displayed all over our future home.
And that was that. Instead of planning a wedding, we both decided to pack our bags, sell our things and travel the world. We knew that for us, we would be happiest if we took the unconventional route and set off into the unknown.
So we booked a one way ticket out of Toronto to explore Italy, Romania, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia and Australia, where we now live full time.
Before we left, we had discussed the type of trip we each had in mind before leaving home. We wanted to make sure we both had a clear understanding of each other’s expectations when it came to budget, accommodation standards, and overall must-see destinations. However, personality differences no doubt caused us to clash at times.
For example, I, by nature, am highly organized, neat, and detail-orientated. When it comes to directions, I like to know exactly where I’m going and how I’m going to get there.
On the other hand, my wife, Andra, likes to go with the flow and see what happens. Inevitably, an argument is bound to arise. It doesn’t end there. When Andra is hungry, she gets cranky, demanding, and irrational. When I’m not feeling his best, I get grumpy, irritated, and impatient. But, when it’s all said and done, our personality traits balance each other out like yin and yang. As much as there have been many squabbles along the way, we’ve also created hundreds of priceless memories. Travel has brought on new perspectives, beliefs, and an overwhelming love for life. And sharing this growth with each other has truly been the biggest reward of all.
If you can backpack together, you can do anything together. If you come out still in love, then, you’ve found your mate for life! If not, then there’s probably someone better out there for you anyway.
Just in case you’re not sold on the atypical lifestyle with someone you love, here’s a few highlights and setbacks specific to our journeys:
When you travel to countries that are so different from one another, you gain a long list of highlights. Personally, I enjoyed exploring Angkor Wat in Cambodia and getting lost in the ancient ruins. Riding a motorbike through the rice paddies of Indonesia is also high on my list.
There are always going to be setbacks, it’s just how you choose to react to them. I’ve had no access to cash because my bank card wouldn’t work at the ATMs due to my home branch placing a freeze on my account. You just have to be agile and come up with a solution. For me, I had to wait a few hours until the contact centre was open and called via Skype to resolve the issue. Luckily, in Asia your money can go a long way.
The best advice I can give anyone considering taking that life path less travelled is to be patient, carry emergency cash, keep an open mind, take lots of photos, and travel the unbeaten path.